Iranian fuel tanker has moored at Venezuela’s El Palito refinery -TV

Iranian tanker Fortune, part of a fleet carrying about 1.5 million barrels of gasoline according to media reports, makes its way to Venezuela’s El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello in northern Carabobo state, amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports and Iran. (AFP)
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Updated 25 May 2020

Iranian fuel tanker has moored at Venezuela’s El Palito refinery -TV

  • Both countries are under US sanctions
  • Iran is providing Venezuela with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components

DUBAI: The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela has moored at a port serving the South American country's El Palito refinery, the nation's oil minister said Monday, and Refinitiv Eikon data showed a second vessel had entered its waters.
Iran is providing Venezuela with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and refining components in a move criticized by US authorities as both countries are under U.S. sanctions, according to the governments, sources and calculations by TankerTrackers.com.

 

Refinitiv Eikon data showed that the tanker Fortune docked at one of El Palito's berths around 1 a.m. local time (0500 GMT).
A second vessel, the Forest, had entered Venezuelan waters and was being escorted by Venezuela's military on Monday morning, the navy posted on Twitter. A third tanker, the Petunia, was approaching the Caribbean, according to the data.
Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela's economy vice president and recently named oil minister, posted photos on Twitter of the Fortune arriving.
"We continue advancing and overcoming," El Aissami wrote.
A senior Trump administration official said earlier this month that Washington was considering a response to the shipments, but a Pentagon spokesman said last week he was not aware of any military move planned against the vessels, and the first two vessels did not appear to face any interference.
Venezuela is suffering severe shortages of gasoline due to the near-complete breakdown of its 1.3 million barrel-per-day refining network, as well as U.S. sanctions aimed at ousting socialist President Nicolas Maduro which have made it difficult to import fuel.
Venezuelan officials have portrayed the arrival of the gasoline as a victory over US sanctions. Washington and Venezuela's opposition, which argue that Maduro is usurping power since rigging his 2018 re-election, have said the gasoline will likely be available only to security forces and well-connected individuals.


Pompeo calls for Greece-Turkey dialogue to ease tensions

Updated 27 min 8 sec ago

Pompeo calls for Greece-Turkey dialogue to ease tensions

  • Pompeo is on a two-day visit to Greece – his second in a year – aimed at easing tensions between Greece and Turkey

SOÚDA, Greece: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said his country strongly backed talks between Greece and Turkey to de-escalate tensions over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
He also called for an end to fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh and a return to negotiations “as quickly as possible.”
Pompeo is on a two-day visit to Greece – his second in a year – aimed at easing tensions between Greece and Turkey.
The two countries have spent weeks at loggerheads after Ankara sent exploration vessels into disputed, potentially resource-rich waters in a crisis that roped in other European powers and raised concern about a wider escalation.
“We strongly support dialogue between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and encourage them to resume discussion of these issues as soon as possible,” he said after visiting the NATO base of Souda Bay on Crete with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
On Wednesday, Pompeo will fly to Rome for meetings with Italian government and Vatican officials. He will subsequently visit Croatia on Friday.
Pompeo and Mitsotakis had earlier spoken to Souda base commanders and boarded a US special forces CCM speedboat and a Greek frigate, prior to a sit-down meeting.
Washington has urged the NATO allies and neighbors, who have agreed to continue exploratory talks interrupted in 2016, to find “good solutions” to regional disputes exacerbated by energy exploration disagreements.
“We hope the exploratory talks not only get kicked off right, but it’s important that they’re resolved in a way that delivers outcomes that each of the two nations find more than acceptable,” Pompeo told Greek state agency ANA on Monday.
“It’s not just talking, we need to get to good solutions,” he added.
In a joint statement on Monday after talks in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, Pompeo and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias said rival claims to territory in the Mediterranean should be resolved “peacefully in accordance with international law.”
The 44-hectare Naval Support Activity base at Souda is the foremost US naval facility in the eastern Mediterranean.
Mitsotakis — who is hosting Pompeo at his family home in Crete — wants closer military ties with the United States.
Pompeo last October signed a defense agreement with Greek authorities allowing US forces a broader use of Greek military facilities.
Greece intends to further upgrade the naval facilities at Souda for its own navy operations, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told parliament on Monday.
“Our country wants to make its presence felt in the eastern Mediterranean, and this will be done through the upgrade of Souda,” Panagiotopoulos said, according to ANA.
On Tuesday, Pompeo also called for an end to fighting between separatists in the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorny Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces.
“Both sides must stop the violence and work with the Minsk group ... to return to substantive negotiations as quickly as possible,” Pompeo said, referring to the so-called Minsk Group of mediators that includes France, Russia and the United States.
At least 95 people have been killed in the clashes that have been raging since the weekend, including 11 civilians, according to the latest available tallies.